Texas Tech, Graham Harrell and the Power of Optimism

I’m a sports fan, especially American Football.  I haven’t blogged about sports for a while, but there was a college football game last Saturday night between Texas Tech University and the University of Texas.  Both teams were undefeated coming into the game.  Texas was ranked number 1; Texas Tech, number 7.  Texas is a big time college football power.  Texas Tech is starting to become one.  I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that this was the biggest football game in Texas Tech’s history.

Texas Tech won.  It was a great game that perfectly illustrates the relationship between self confidence and success.

Self confidence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident, you need to do three things: 1) become an optimist; 2) face your fears and act; and 3) surround yourself with positive people.

Texas Tech was the underdog in the game, yet they jumped out to an early 22 – 3 lead.  Texas proved to be resilient however.  They scored a touchdown with 1:29 seconds left in the game to go ahead 33 – 32. 

Texas Tech returned the kickoff to their own 40 yard line.  Then quarterback Graham Harrell led them to the victory in a six play drive.  He completed a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with one second left in the game.  Texas Tech won 39 – 33.  Believe me, the whole thing was much more exciting than it sounds here.

After the game, Lisa Salter the sideline reporter asked Graham Harrell what he was thinking when Texas went ahead 33 – 32.  He said, “I thought that we would win the game, they left us a minute and 29 seconds to score.  That’s too much time.”

Now that is a display of self confidence.  Texas Tech looked great early in the game, Texas looked bad.  In the second half, Texas outplayed Texas Tech and managed to take the lead.  Yet, when faced with having only 1:29 to score, Graham Harrell was confident that his team would win the game – and they did.

The tenth point of The Optimist Creed says…

“Promise yourself to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”

That’s what Graham Harrell did.  With 1:29 left in the game, and after playing poorly in the second half, he had a lot of reasons worry, to be a bit angry and to fear that the Texas Tech undefeated season was over.  Only he didn’t.  He rallied his team to victory.  It was quite inspiring to see.

And that’s the common sense point for today.  Self confident, optimistic people fight to the very end.  It took Texas Tech 59 minutes and 59 seconds to beat Texas last Saturday.  Their coaches and players, especially Graham Harrell, never quit.  They stayed optimistic – and they won the biggest game of their lives, and the biggest game in Texas Tech history.  Optimism, coupled with hard work and preparation can work wonders.  Just ask Graham Harrell.  If you want a copy of the Optimist Creed that you can frame and hang in your workplace, send an email to Bud@BudBilanich.com with the words “Optimist Creed” in the subject line.

That’s my take on optimism, self confidence and the Texas Tech victory over Texas.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  I appreciate and value all of your comments.  As always, thanks for reading, and commenting.


PS to my USA readers.  Tomorrow, November 4, is election day.  If you haven’t voted early, please get to the polls and vote.  This is an important election. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. I think Yogi Berra said it best when he said “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical”. I know Yogi was referring to baseball but this applies in everything. If you are in the right mental place and confident in your abilities, then anything is possible.
    Texas Tech overcame the odds and 1:29 was too much time to give them. I am hoping that Penn State is given a chance to play for the National Championship so Joe Paterno can overcome the odds and win a National Championship at age 200. (I’m joking…but JoePa is rather old.)
    Great Post Bud. I love the sport themed posts.

  2. Thanks for the comment Steve.
    I am a Penn State alum – class of 1972, Franco Harris’ class. JoePa had two undefeated seasons when I was there — an no national championships to show for it.
    It would be wonderful to see the Lions in the BCS championship game this year. They’re nubmer 3 in the BCS poll this week, but there are a few weeks left in the season.
    All the best,

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.